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Ways to Add More Yogurt to Your Diet

One of the easiest and healthiest ways to enjoy yogurt, as a nourishing snack or mini-meal, is to toss chopped fresh fruit into plain yogurt or add a little honey and wheat germ.

You can eat yogurt for breakfast, straight out of the carton, topped with fruit and/or cereal, or as a topping for pancakes or waffles. Blended with fresh fruit and ice, it becomes a smoothie -- a quick and portable breakfast or snack.

Or, satisfy your sweet tooth with frozen yogurt (or a frozen container of regular yogurt). You'll get half the calories of premium ice cream and none of the fat.

Yogurt is also a versatile ingredient for recipes ranging from appetizers to desserts. When recipes call for cream, sour cream, or mayonnaise, low-fat plain yogurt can easily stand in for part or all of the higher-fat ingredients.

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, the "Recipe Doctor" for the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic, advises using yogurt in cool dishes such as cold soups, salad dressings and dips, or as a creamy dessert topping.

Since yogurt separates when heated, it's a little trickier using it in hot dishes. But it can be done: Try mixing a little cornstarch into the yogurt, then stirring into your hot dish at the end of the cooking period.

Magee often uses yogurt to lower the fat content of her baked goods. "Yogurt is a great substitute for oil or butter in cakes and muffins because it adds moisture, volume and flavor without added fat or calories," she says.

Yogurt's acid content means it also works well in a marinade, to help tenderize meats.

Yogurt is perishable, so be sure to check the date on the container. An unopened container should keep about 10 days past the marked freshness date.

Making Your Own Yogurt

Want a ready supply of healthy, inexpensive plain yogurt? Try making your own.

The process is simple: Add live cultures to heated milk, and hold it at 110 degrees Fahrenheit until it's firm. You can then add flavorings, or, if you want to thicken it and boost the nutrition, you can add nonfat milk solids.

You can buy yogurt makers, which cost from $15-$60, or make it the old fashioned way with the recipe below:

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